I’m Not Dead

Matilda the Dog

I like this picture of Matilda The Dog

I’m still alive!  But it has been a bit dark in my triathlon brain.  There has not been much room for jokes and lighthearted blogging tomfoolery.

I’ve been pondering my existence.  As in, how useless is a human being that can’t run without warming up for 20 minutes?  What kind of caveman would I have been, if at the first hint of a delicious wild boar racing past my rocky abode I had to stop and limber up while the rest of my clan starved to death? Would I have been a caveman vegetarian? How did I make it through evolution, along with whichever of my ancestors cursed me with these non-natural runner genes?  Do I actually deserve to be on this planet?

And so on and so forth.  It has been challenging, but challenging in a way that was totally made up in my head.   Continue reading

Shecantry Masters Swimming

A blurry pool

I may have still been asleep when I took this picture of the entrance to the Caboolture Aquatic Centre, which I could have sworn was in focus and looking pretty when I took this.

It has been 11 months since I first had the brainwave that led me to sign up for The Mini Bribie Island Triathlon.  It has been 10 months since I started this blog!  Time is moving along so quickly… And so much has changed.

Regular readers will remember that in the beginning, although I was pretty crap at cycling and it took a while to learn to run properly, the swimming aspect was the stand-out disaster zone for this particular blogging triathlete.  We were all on tenterhooks for the first couple of months, wondering whether The Queensland Government would actually pass a by-law banning me from all public pools in this great State, for fear of tarnishing our reputation as an upstanding member of the swimming community.

SIDENOTE: If they did pass such a law, I didn’t receive official notification, so hopefully I am safe to continue to frequent lane 5 at the Caboolture Aquatic Centre.  Yes, I have my own lane. That is how quiet the pool is here, if you go outside of the dolphins’ training hours. Continue reading

On Sundays We Are Fit

beautiful

Arriving at Redcliffe on Sunday morning

Ah, remember the days when a Sunday Session meant a few beers (or more) in a sunny beer garden?

In my quest to become a triathlete, many things have taken on new meanings. For instance, ‘a short bike ride’ now means anything less than 90 minutes, ‘I’m going for a run’ is no longer the punchline to a joke I’m telling and ‘doing the laundry’ means untangling 20 pairs of sports socks, 7 pairs of leggings, 2 pairs of cycling knicks, 3 of running shorts, 9 sports bras, 10 fluorescent-coloured lycra tops and a swimming costume, whilst holding your breath to avoid the stink.

And so it is that, thanks to triathlon, the phrase Sunday Session now involves less beer* and actually refers to training sessions of a Sunday nature, which means that they are a bit longer, or require a special journey to get there, or are conducted in a group I can’t catch up with during the working week due to clashing schedules etc.

*I won’t claim zero beer is involved in these new Sunday Sessions, but there is definitely less beer. Continue reading

The Stupid Swimming Race

smiling

At the pool, smiling peacefully as I begin the final training session before my race

Of all the things I have signed up for, and of all the things I am planning to sign up for – oh my goodness you guys are going to think I have gone absolutely batpoop insane when I blog about some of the things I am planning for the future – the stupid swimming race has got to be the absolute stupidest.

By a long, long way.

One kilometre more stupid, in fact.

I don’t know what I was thinking.  Well, actually I do – I was devastatingly unaware of the existence of the miraculous Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit when I signed up for the Mooloolaba 1km Ocean Swim.  I thought that entering a swimming race would be the only way for me to practice swimming in groups around buoys in the ocean.  Google had really let me down on that front.

Always blame Google.

I sat at my computer, a few hours after my first Open Water Swim session with soon-to-be-ex-Coach Kirstie.  It seems so long ago now.  It dawned on me that swimming in the ocean is my own personal equivalent of wrestling with bears – there is a high likelihood of death, nobody enjoys watching it much less doing it, the cruelty factor is high, it’s entirely pointless, and let’s not forget there is a high likelihood of death.

Yep, I know I mentioned it twice.

So what to do, when you have already signed up for a triathlon that involves a 1.5km swim in October but your new coach is moving to Tully and Google tells you that you have no other way to practice ocean water swimming?  Of course, you sign yourself up to do two thirds of the required triathlon swim distance 7 months beforehand.  Yes that’s right, sign yourself up to swim one whole kilometre, seven whole months before you actually need to do it.

Of course that’s the answer – if you have no actual brain cells left from your bear fight. Continue reading

Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit – Round 2

Grimsey's Swimfit

Absolutely thrilled to be about to jump in the ocean again

If you missed the report, you can go here to read about the first Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit clinic I attended.  If you live for the moment, hate to dwell on the past and can’t bring yourself to read about things that happened a month ago, here’s the summary:

In January, I signed up for a Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit open water session that was to be held two weeks before my first triathlon – the Bribie Island Triathlon.  Prior to the clinic, I’d only completed two open water training sessions (at Bribie and Caloundra) and they had both served as rude reminders that swimming with sharks and jellyfish and seaweed is terrifying.  I didn’t do very well at Grimsey’s clinic either: I panicked; I swam slowly; I got stung by jellyfish numerous times; I got kicked in the head.  But on the drive home I realised I had survived it all, and that simple fact was a step – no, a leap – towards improvement.

That’s it, in a nutshell.

The clinic itself wasn’t hard and embarrassing and scary – ocean swimming is those things.  In fact, Grimsey’s clinic gave me the safe and supportive environment I needed to get out there – to try and make progress towards ocean swimming being less hard, less embarrassing and less scary.

So I was both dreading and looking forward to having another chance to be coached by a Grimsey before my stupid ocean race in Mooloolaba on Saturday.  Luckily, after the previous session got cancelled, the Grimsey brothers scheduled an extra clinic for yesterday and I got myself on the list. Continue reading

Swimming at Lightening Speed

extreme excitement

Extreme excitement at swimming super fast

If anyone other than my Grandpa is following along with the training calendar I posted a couple of weeks ago (unlikely) you will know that this morning’s session was to be a one kilometre swim.  And for once, I was able to actually stick to the plan – and a 1km swim is exactly what I did.

The idea behind the 1km swim is that I have a 1km swimming race a week tomorrow (Saturday 12th March) and I just wanted to have the confidence of swimming that distance comfortably in the pool, to assist me in maintaining a positive mental state in the race.  Because I have pooped my pants a couple of times, thinking about the 1km swim with sharks and jellyfish and seaweed and thrashing arms and legs that is only a week away. Continue reading

Your First Triathlon

Mum and me

Yes, she can.  So can you.

I feel like a bit of a fraudster, passing on my advice for ‘your first triathlon’.

I mean, I’ve done precisely one triathlon.

But if you’re looking for advice like I was/am, maybe learning from somebody who is as new as you is the best option.  When you’ve done a few, I imagine that certain things become obvious, and you might assume they’re obvious to everyone.

So this guide to ‘your first triathlon’ is for the real beginner, and the one who is Type-A, needing to know every detail they possibly can, including the obvious.  This is for you, my friend (although the rest of you may read if you want to)

I have split the post into sections, because it is long – there is a lot of information.  If you’re OK with some sections of your triathlon journey, you can skip the parts of this post that cover those sections.  I’ve also made a special page on my blog where this post will live permanently, if you need to refer back to it – here.

Let us begin. Continue reading

Phase 2 Training

Nice medal

Are medals and necklaces interchangeable? Can I wear a medal out to dinner if it goes with my outfit?

I have received my medal and t-shirt from doing the virtual race in early January, in aid of Project Semicolon.  The t-shirt is not really my ‘thing’ but I absolutely love the medal – it is so glitzy and heavy!  I am looking forward to taking part in more virtual races this year, and thereby supporting more charities in a small way as I go about my training.  And getting lots more glamorous medals.

Incidentally, if you love Harry Potter, check out this virtual race running club!! I might sign up for one of theirs later this year.

So anyway, on with the blog.

I have spent the week since completing the Bribie Triathlon Short Course in a bit of disarray – still training every day but very haphazardly.  In Phase One training (leading up to Bribie – i.e everything I have done thus far) my focus in training was simply getting more comfortable and going further each time.

I knew from the get-go that I could manage a 300m swim (although it would have been breaststroke at first) and I am pretty sure most humans over the age of 12 can manage a cycle of 10km.  I could have walked the 3km run if needs be.

What I mean is, my training was pretty basic.

I had assumed that I could stick to the same type of training (monitoring my confidence and capability each week, adjusting as necessary) for Phase Two.  But by Wednesday this week, I realised that would not be the case. Continue reading

Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit

Suttons Beach

Suttons Beach at Redcliffe on Jan 31, 2016

My blogging habits are the stuff of great mystery… and will remain so because it is a very boring mystery that no one would care about.  But today I can reveal that I usually follow a fairly un-magical blogging routine.

Knowing what training sessions I have lined up each week, I generally have an awareness of what to expect in each of them: what challenges will be playing on my mind; how I am feeling towards the session; etc etc.  So I lay down the ‘skeleton’ of a blog post in draft form a few days (sometimes weeks) before I am going to post it. I write in my calendar which post will go live on which day, and make a mental note of what pictures to take when the time comes, to accompany my verbal spewage.

These opening sentences you’re reading now, where I set a scene or give you the background info to help you understand what craziness I have landed myself in, are the best bits to get down early in order to ensure I’ll be off and typing at lightening speed when I get the time.

Even with ‘surprises’ like getting my first flat tyre, I had known in advance that I was going for a long ride that morning, so I had some of the information already written down as a jumping-off point when the big day arrived (although the nitty-gritty turned out very different from what I had anticipated writing the day before)

What I mean is, each day I have the bare bones of a post ready for details to be added after the event.

But today’s post on Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit is different. Continue reading

Oh. My. Triathlon God.

Grimsey's Adult Swimfit

A blessing from above

The Triathlon Gods have finally pulled through.  It is a miracle.  Perhaps they finally agreed that I have suffered enough.  Or maybe King Kirk had a word with them.  Or maybe they saw me riding the Unicorn that is Improvement at a galloping pace towards the finish line of Bribie and decided that I am finally worthy of their affection.

Whatever the reason, I am sure that only their divine intervention has brought me to Grimsey’s Adult Swimfit.

WTF?? I hear you cry.  That is exactly what I thought.  Do not be afraid. Continue reading